The theme for this edition of the journal is prenatal attachment. The lead article is by David B. Chamberlain, Ph.D. and is offered in his very readable style. It is entitled "Communicating with the Mind of a Prenate: Guidelines for Parents and Birth Professionals." As can be seen, Dr. Chamberlain's offering is geared toward those who have a "deep desire to communicate with babies in the womb" and "how to" do that. His recommendations are supported through examples based on his many years of therapeutic observations, clinical studies and anecdotal evidence. For those who wish to deepen their understanding of this topic, a list of books/articles by topic is also provided.
The next four articles are provided by Dr. Helen Doan and her graduate students at York University, Department of Psychology, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. All four look at different aspects of prenatal attachment. The journal appreciates and honors Dr. Doan and her students in this kind of student-mentor approach to scholarly publication. All of the offerings are well developed, have critical thinking throughout, are written in a scholarly fashion.
In the first of the offerings Dr. Doan and Anona Zimerman cover several "theoretical issues that are important to the understanding of the process of defining prenatal attachment." This article does an in depth job of reviewing the literature around prenatal attachment, an important area to scrutinize as the discipline attempts to get empirical validation for the origins of behaviors. Finally, this paper offers suggestions for future research and intervention programs.
The second article is original research by Anona Zimerman using data collected from her doctoral dissertation. The paper by Ms. Zimerman and Dr. Doan examines prenatal attachment in mothers of typical children as well as those with Down syndrome who are pregnant again, questioning how might mothers feel about a second pregnancy when their responsibilities are considerable with a young, special needs child. The authors' overall interest is in what may contribute to an optimal attachment between parent and child that can begin before birth. Their results are quite interesting, especially when thinking about the challenge of clearly denning and operationalizing sensitive milestones during this early developmental period.
Thirdly, Gail F. Kunkel, also a doctoral student, has submitted a paper based on her Master's thesis entitled, "Fetal Attachment and Depression: Measurement Matters." Here Ms. Kunkel and Dr. Doan examine the relationship between fetal attachment and depression. Besides studying this topic using standardized instruments such as Fetal Attachment Scale (Cranley, 1981), the Antenatal Attachment Inventory (Condon, 1993) and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies in Depression (Rodloff, 1977), this study replicates and is an elaboration of the work of Condon and Corkindale (1997). Again, the reader will find the results, as well as the critical thinking and scrutiny of this level of scholarship, very refreshing.
In the final article by Dr. Doan, Nancy L. Cox, and Anona Zimerman entitled, "The Maternal Fetal Attachment Scale: Some Methodological Ponderings," a clear and detailed critique of the Maternal Fetal Attachment Scale (MFAS) developed by Cranley (1981) is undertaken. This process of creating an instrument, testing it, and critiquing it for strengths and weaknesses is again, of critical importance in the demonstrating that those interested in pre- and perinatal psychology are rigorously examining our own science. The article is organized around five issues that "include a discussion around the subscales of the test, the general reliability of the test, the validity, factors correlated with the MFAS and the concern about normative data for the measure" (from the abstract).
Once again, I can only say how warmed I am to see new scholars added to the ranks of those interested in the pre- and perinatal psychology in a substantive way. It is one thing to believe strongly in one's ideals; it is quite another to be courageous (and accountable) to put them to the test.
Bobbi Jo Lyman, Ph.D.
Santa Barbara Graduate Institute
JOURNAL OF PRENATAL AND PERINATAL PSYCHOLOGY AND HEALTH publishes research and clinical articles from the cutting edge of the science of prenatal and perinatal psychology and health. The journal, published quarterly since 1986, is dedicated to the in-depth exploration human reproduction and pregnancy and the mental and emotional development of the unborn and newborn child.